A look back at the victim of the Salem Witch Trials and the massive hysteria that brought about their deaths.

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On September 22, 1692, eight people were hanged for your alleged crimes as witches. Lock were amongst 20 who were killed as a result of the hysteria the took ar in the brand-new England village of Salem where are afraid of demonic possession struck panic amongst the Puritans and also led to much more than 200 accusations against anyone suspected of witchcraft.


The witch hunts brought about the arrests the 150 people

In Massachusetts in the late 1600s, a few young girls (including Elizabeth Parris, age 9, Abigail Williams, age 11) asserted to be own by the devil and blamed regional “witches” for your demons. This sent out panic transparent the town of Salem and led to accusations of much more than 200 regional citizens end the following several months, including Dorothy “Dorcas” great who was by much the youngest accused at period 4 (she spent eight months in the prison’s dungeon before being released) in addition to her mother, Sarah good (who was later executed). 


Sometimes described as “witch hunts” (as also seen in Europe indigenous the 1300s-1700s), this hysteria caused the arrests of virtually 150 people, many court hearings, and also the guilty convictions the dozens. Those found guilty were frequently chained come the wall surfaces in the prison’s basement, known as the “witch jail:” a perpetually dark, cold, and also wet dungeon infested v water rats. If in prison, the accused, many of them women, were continuously humiliated by being compelled to piece naked and undergo physical examinations of their nude bodies. 


About twenty years after the convictions, in 1711, the colony passed a bill pardoning those accused and also granted financial restitution come the surviving victims and their families. However, hundreds of lives to be damaged by the Salem witch hunts. A total of 24 innocent human being died for their alleged authorized in dark magic. 2 dogs were even executed as result of suspicions of your involvement in witchcraft. 


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A relenten of Rebecca Nurse in chains during the Salem Witch Trials. 

Photo: Freeland A. Carter, artist , via Wikimedia Commons


None of this alleged “witches” were melted at the stake

In all, there were 4 execution dates on i m sorry 19 women and men were required to Proctor’s Ledge to die by hanging from a tree. ~ above June 10, 1692, Bridget Bishop was hanged. Around a month afterwards July 19, 1692, sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe and Sarah Wildes were executed. Five an ext were hanged on respectable 19, 1692, consisting of one mrs (Martha Carrier) and also four guys (John Willard, Reverend George Burroughs, George Jacobs, Sr. And John Proctor). The final execution date was September 22, 1692, on i m sorry eight were hanged (Mary Eastey, Martha Corey, Ann Pudeator, Samuel Wardwell, mar Parker, Alice Parker, Wilmot Redd and also Margaret Scott). In addition, 71-year-old Giles Corey passed away after gift pressed with heavy stones—his punishment for refusing to go into an chaste or guilty plea to the court. 


Four more of the judge (Lydia Dustin, Ann Foster, buy it Osborne, and Roger Toothaker) died in the unbearable conditions in the “witch jails” awaiting your execution dates. Together colluders through the devil, castle were no afforded proper Christian burials. Their corpses to be thrown right into shallow graves. However, the bodies of Rebecca Nurse, man Proctor and George Jacobs were at some point retrieved by your families and given Christian burials.

Despite typical folklore, none of these alleged “witches” were melted at the stake. This myth most likely derives native the truth that an ext than 50,000 the the accused were punished through fire for “malevolent witchcraft” during the european witch hunts that peaked around the 15th century. Part were melted alive while others were originally hanged or beheaded and also later incinerated come prevent any kind of possibility that postmortem black magic. 

Another common misconception is that all the accused “witches” were women. If the majority were women, men were additionally both accused and convicted the being associated in the occult. In fact, five of the 20 who were executed were men. These males were not well-liked in the community and many were very outspoken against the witch trials. The accused and also convicted women additionally challenged the standards of the community; plenty of were opinionated and also forthright while part had negative reputations because of their “unladylike” behavior. Many think that this is possibly why certain men and also women to be targeted and also accused of witchcraft.

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A illustration of the fatality of Giles Corey who was pressed with hefty stones for failing to get in a plea to the charge of being a witch throughout the Salem Witch Trials.

Photo: initial by john Clark Ridpath, repair by Equazcion. , via Wikimedia Commons


The cause of the hysteria in Salem is unknown

It is unknown precisely what brought around the mass hysteria in Salem in 1692. Some have theorized the the witch hunts to be the result of an individual vendettas or economic competition, while others have argued that the usage of ergot-poisoned rye grain may have resulted in hallucinations and faulty thinking amongst the Puritans in brand-new England. Everything the case, the Salem witch trials and executions room universally declared as a shameful component of history. The Puritans themselves well-known the errors of their ways and also held a work of prayer ~ above January 15, 1697, well-known as the work of official Humiliation, to plead with God because that forgiveness. In 1702, the trials were claimed unlawful. However, it took an ext than 250 years for Massachusetts to formally apologize for the events of 1692. 


On the 325th anniversary the the an initial mass execution, the city the Salem committed Proctor's Ledge together a memorial come the victims that were hanged there. Although numerous initially thought that Gallows Hill to be the site of the executions, recent proof from The Gallows Hill project pinpointed Proctor’s Ledge as the specific site that the well known Salem witch hangings. Together with numerous renditions the Arthur Miller’s The Crucible as well as the Salem Witch Museum, the Proctor’s Ledge Memorial reminds us of the appalling tragedies that took place in 1692, consisting of the false imprisonment and murder the innocents.